Times change and so must we. In recent months SPAWNs board of directors and leaders have had numerous meetings and discussions about how we can better serve the members of SPAWN, and the creative community at large, in this new age of technology.
Formed over five-and-a-half years ago, SPAWN has evolved from a regional organization with local chapter meetings to a national organization that serves members and the public from all over the United States. We even have a few members from other countries.
With the new millennium new realities and new questions have arisen. How do we best serve this ever-expanding community of artists, writers, and others interested in publishing literary works? What are their needs? What are they looking for? And the really tough question: how can we provide valuable services and stay financially viable?
Weve come up with some ideas and plans that will better address the needs of our members as well as bring our organization into the 21st century.
Some of our decisions were very hard to make, such as discontinuing regular chapter meetings. But the regional meetings, which had been so popular during our first few years, were serving fewer and fewer members until less than ten percent of the membership were attending.
We have found that the costs of producing a monthly newsletter, including printing and postage to send it out to our members, has strained our budget to the breaking point. Still, how could we stop the newsletter when it is not only our connection to each other but an effective means of conveying important information? We decided we cant. But what we can do is stop printing a paper copy and mailing it out. Each issue has been published on our Web site and that will continue.
This will be your last printed newsletter
Starting next month, members will receive SPAWNews by e-mail. The newsletter will continue to carry interesting articles by professional writers, news of contests, seminars, book festivals and other events of interest, book reviews, technical information, and members activities. Those benefits wont change. In fact, we will be able to provide even more information because we wont have space constraints. We wont be limited to the number of pages available in a printed newsletter.
New and improved community-based services
Thanks to Virginia Lawrence, our webmaster, we plan to offer our members many new and exciting services. These will include a message board, a calendar of events, polls, a home page builder, and much more. For details, please read Virginias article below.
Professional Services Registry
In response to many requests from members and non-members alike, SPAWN is planning a registry of professional services. We often get questions about how to find a qualified illustrator, editor, ghostwriter, book cover designer, computer typesetter, and other professional people related to book publishing. It is difficult to recommend people when we dont know much about them and not appropriate for SPAWN to choose one person over another. We could, however, furnish a list on our Web site of those who meet certain qualifications.
Registrants will be required to fill out an application regarding their education and/or experience and furnish recommendations from clients and/or other professionals. The details are currently being worked out and there will be more information on this in future newsletters.
If you wish to comment or make suggestions regarding any of the above changes, please E-mail me at Mary@SPAWN.org.
NEW COMMUNITY-BASED SERVICES
by Virginia Lawrence
In our move to improve SPAWN member services, the updated Web site will soon offer community-based services to SPAWN members only. These options will be easy to use:
After you use your password to move into the SPAWN Member Area, you will go directly to your Member Page. Your Member Page will be your doorway to the new member features.
SPAWN members will be able to post messages for all members to see, and members will be able to respond to those messages. The Message Board will allow ongoing discussions on various topics, so we can discuss printer prices, editing, plot complexities, cover designs, and any topics of interest to artists, writers, and small publishers.
The Public Calendar will be maintained by the SPAWN Board. Each member will be able to select the Public Calendar from their Member Page. Also, each member will be able to submit events for the Public Calendar. These submitted events will be reviewed and all suitable events will be added to the Public Calendar. If you are planning a book signing or other literary event, we encourage you to submit your event. SPAWN members are interested in member events!
Each SPAWN member will have a Personal Calendar for all events of personal interest. The SPAWN member will have complete control of his/her own calendar. You can use the Personal Calendar for business or personal events.
The Comments section will accept comments from SPAWN members.
The Polls area will allow the SPAWN Board to poll members on topics as they arise. Generally, we expect the Polls area to improve member-Board communication so that we can continue to build the organization you need.
HOME PAGE BUILDER
The Home Page Builder area will allow each member to build her/his own page with the exact details preferred. You will be building the Home Page with your browser. You will follow the instructions to add the information you want on your page. You will be able to upload one or two small graphics or photo files, and you can add a full description of one or more books. You can even add a link to your book at Amazon.com from your Home Page.
Using the new features of the site, SPAWN will be sending the newsletter by e-mail to every member.
The November SPAWNews will be sent to you by e-mail. We hope to have the majority of the updated site ready by then so that you can start enjoying the important new features.
As we progress, we expect to add more community-building options. The currently planned and future options will help us to interact with other SPAWN members for information, support, and friendship.
E-Mail in Times of National Emergency
We have heard about the victims of the September 11 terrorism attack who called their loved ones from the planes and from the World Trade Center. We are now convinced that cell phones are vital communication tools.
Unfortunately, as the tragedy unfolded, cell phone towers were destroyed and telephone lines were jam-packed. It quickly became impossible to phone to/from New York or internationally to the U.S.
E-mail did not fail on September 11 when other forms of communication did. E-mail systems in the U.S. and abroad were largely unaffected by the incidents in New York and Washington. Because e-mail can travel by a variety of routes to reach the recipients, e-mail found its way and became indispensable.
Even though e-mail didnt work for people who couldn't get to their computers or who use dialup access when phone lines were down, they could go to any working Kinko's or Internet café and send a quick e-mail, notifying loved ones that they were fine.
Sending an e-mail that way is pretty simple, and you don't need your usual account number or password. Just ask for an Internet-connected computer, start up the browser, and go to Hotmail. Set up a free new Hotmail account and send your e-mail.
You can even use the new Hotmail account as your main e-mail account with friends and relatives for the duration and go to any Internet café and use a browser to get your latest e-mail.
Collecting the e-mail from your regular e-mail account is a bit more complex. You definitely need your account name and password, along with a bit of help from tech support at the café. Let's add our e-mail account information to that wallet card we carry so that we can use it as necessary in time of crisis.
I pray that we will never have such a crisis again.
~ Ó 2001 Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D. Virginia Lawrence, SPAWN's Webmaster is a professional Web Designer and Online Marketing Consultant. firstname.lastname@example.org, or http://www.cognitext.com
From the President of SPAWN
Most of us are creatures of habit living in a world driven by change. While its okay to find comfort in what is familiar, we must also learn to adapt. This is true in life and this is true in SPAWN.
After we stopped having monthly meetings, some of you told me that you greatly missed the face-to-face contact. But you adapted. Some of you will miss finding SPAWNews in your mailbox each month and holding it in your hands to read. And you will adapt. Yes, we will suffer loss in this time of change, but we will gain substantial benefits.
I encourage you to support the Board in this transitional shift and help us to make it work, because it wont work without your participation. Visit the SPAWN Web site often. Utilize the information available there. Support fellow members by responding to their calls for help. Post your own notices in an effort to connect. Participate in the polls so that SPAWN continues to serve your needs. Offer your best to this organization and you will be rewarded in kind.
Ive had the opportunity to meet many of you while responding to your questions via e-mail. I look forward to getting to know you through our new interactive website.
¾ Patricia L. Fry
Along with all Americans and millions of people around the world, our hearts are heavy with sadness for those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and for their loved ones left behind to grieve.
In remembrance of the tragic events of September 11, Richard OConnor, Executive Editor of Renaissance Books and SPAWN board member, sent us this poem and we would like to share it with you.
"When I saw an ABC camera shot, pulling back from the downtown skyline to the New Jersey shore, there, alone in the lower center of the screen stood the Statue of Liberty. I wondered what she was thinking. And I was moved to write the following."
I am Mother of outcasts.
For a century and fifteen
here have I stood
with tablet and torch
to welcome each mortal
who sought my refuge.
My beacon aloft lit the way
for countless peoples
who became America.
I am symbol, hope, center, surety.
I am Lady Liberty
From my island site I have seen
barges, steamboats and liners,
grey ladies and Queens of the sea
debark both rich and wretched,
forbears in search of freedom.
I stand mute witness to the spirit
of a young nation's vigor
building the mighty colossus,
cathedrals that reach to the sky
to touch the hand of God.
My copper sheath hues green
Whenever I shed a tear
for any one of my children
who dies at the hand of evil.
Today I wept.
As did you, every American.
Today I grieved in dreadful agony,
forced to watch across the bay
the cathedrals disintegrate from view.
Today I cried.
But know that no power on earth
shall ever extinguish my torch.
September 11, 2001
© 2001 Richard F.X. O'Connor
SPAWN is a nonprofit corporation. Donations are tax deductible.
Small Publishers, Artists & Writers
P.O. Box 2653
Ventura, CA 93002-2653
Telephone & Fax: 805-646-3045
Senior Editor, SPAWNews
Managing Editor, SPAWNews
Writer, Editor, Publicist
Board of Directors
Author, Editor, Literary Consultant
Founder and President of SPAWN
Virginia Lawrence, PhD
Writer, Editor, Webmaster
Secretary of SPAWN
Author, Columnist, Talk-show Host
Executive Director, Manuscript Libraries
Richard F.X. O'Connor
Author, Publisher, Editor, Consultant
To promote the literary arts and provide education, information, resources and a supportive networking environment for artists, writers, and other creative people interested in the publishing process.
Members and Nonmembers: Please send your press releases, seminar information, and books for review to Wendy Dager, Senior Editor, SPAWNews, 3039 Country Lane, Simi Valley, CA 93063 or email Wendy@spawn.org.
SPAWN membership dues are $45 per year; spouses, half-price.
Subscriptions to SPAWNews are $15 per year for nonmembers. Make your check payable to SPAWN and mail to P.O. Box 2653, Ventura, CA 93002-2653.
SPAWNews, Member Directory and Web site listings, and discounts for SPAWN events are included in membership.
SPAWN is a nonprofit corporation. Donations are tax deductible.
Small Publishers, Artists & Writers Network
P. O. Box 2653
Ventura, CA 93002-2653